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Lesbians On 34th Street—Bad For Business

BY Pat Archbold

| Posted 6/21/10 at 11:33 PM

 

Do you remember the Christmas classic Miracle on 34th Street?  In that movie the legendary department store that employed Santa sent its shoppers to other stores if they had better prices.  It was the department store with a heart of gold.

But do you remember the motivation of the fictional Mr. Macy for institutionalizing the referral policy?  Because having a heart of gold translated into customer loyalty and real gold—aka profit.

Do you know how I know that the Mr. Macy in the movie was fictional?  He cared about profit, something the real Macy’s doesn’t seem to desire.

Blogger Thomas Peters recently noted that the Macy’s in D.C has prominent street displays promoting gay marriage.

Peter’s simple remark that “DC would be a hard place to raise kids. I’m beginning to think that’s more and more the case, especially if you live near the Macy’s,” has garnered him all kinds of rebukes including Andrew Sullivan boringly charging him with “best American Taliban template for bigotry.”

Oh please.  Peters rightly responds to the all the hubbub by saying, and I paraphrase, “Duh, I am Catholic.”

In defense of Sullivan, he is so busy trying to prove that Sarah Palin’s baby is not Sarah Palin’s baby he simply doesn’t have time for thoughtful responses anymore.

Dawn Eden complained to Macy’s about the display and received this equally mindless paean to diversity.

Macy’s has a long-standing and respected history of support for diversity, and inclusiveness is deeply rooted in our company philosophy. We welcome all customers into our stores. Diversity is a way of life for us and it is a core principle within our company and in the support we give to communities that we serve. While we regret that some customers may have concerns with various organizations that we support and that are important to our associates and our neighbors, our company does have an unwavering commitment to diversity.

Rather than dive into the subject of the absurdity of gay marriage, let’s look at this display from a business perspective.

It is inarguable that the percentage of self-identified gay people is rather small.  Experts suggest that it is somewhere around four percent of the population.  That is a pretty small market segment but why not target it?  Perhaps because the majority of people actually oppose gay marriage.  In fact, in every state in which gay marriage has come before the electorate it has been defeated, sometimes with very large majorities.

How does it make good business sense to target a population of less than four percent while risking alienating the large majority of potential Macy’s shoppers?  It doesn’t.  I would call it a bad business decision but we all know this decision has nothing to do with business.

It is sad statement that the fictional Mr. Macy has better business acumen than the real-life leadership at Macy’s.  Speaking of real and fictional characters, today the real St. Nick would probably send Macy’s customers interested in family values to the Sierra Trading Post. and suggest never to shop at Macy’s again.